When people from various professional backgrounds work together, there are always challenges to make communication, working methods, processes and scheduling to work. On the other hand, when successful, this kind of collaboration can give new perspective, broaden mindsets and make room for new kinds of innovations. Here are some thoughts about multidisciplinary work from few of Finnish professionals:
Pirjo Kääriäinen, Designer in Residence
School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University
During the DWoC project we get to experience at first hand how cooperation between designers and material engineers works in practice and what results can be produced.
The research won’t focus solely on developing a certain characteristic of the raw material or of the production technology. The possibilities of what can be produced from cellulose will be tested through hands on prototyping and trial and error, and at the same time, various potential application areas are explored.
The aim is to freshen the image of cellulose as a material of the future. Getting young people interested in materials, in general, is increasingly important no matter how digitalized our world will be, people will always need physical products. The importance of sustainable development in our daily lives will grow and it will have to be taken into account in all activities.
Using the skills in design and architecture gained from Aalto University we can communicate the results of the project in an interesting way to a variety of audiences. Startups, as well as existing businesses, can find new ideas to inspire their own product development from the results obtained during the project.
Ainomaija Haarla, Professor, Corporate Entrepreneurship
School of Chemical Engineering, Aalto University
Design firms and other creative entrepreneurs are always looking for new interesting materials which mean that supply and demand are matched as part of this project. Cellulose is a brilliant raw material, which has numerous functional attributes. And since Finland’s forests produce wood faster than the existing industry can harvest it, there won’t be a shortage of the material either.
Design firms are in an important position in increasing the use of cellulose. We will strive to build new ecosystems centered on design driven companies as well as advancing entrepreneurship and the creation of new startups by supplying business concepts to help the firms.
The method in question is a new approach to implement the so called promotional theory into the wood fiber industry. Economists bring an essential element into engineering work and creative design. We will also research value chains related to new materials and understand how such new products can be priced. In this way, we will supply concept ideas to support firms.
Ali Harlin, Research Professor
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)
In the last 10 years, we have learned more about the attributes of cellulose than in the previous 100 years. We are now in a rapidly advancing development cycle where new uses of cellulose are constantly revealed to us researchers. The project in question (DWOC) has been both a learning and training exercise.
The central aim of the project has been to break old assumptions and create in their place a new design- driven emphasis for traditional cellulose.
The existing machinery of the cellulose industry cannot be changed quickly so the development of processes has to be done at the same time. For the production of new cellulose-based products, we need to develop compact processes that work in the same location like 3D -printing, direct production of textiles and filaments, film production techniques and various combinations of these. The list is long.
Our aim throughout the project is to quicken our knowledge refinement and by so doing reveal the distinctive attributes of the material, like its recycling capabilities, combined with new production processes to enable a breakthrough for cellulose utilizing innovations.